It looks as though the Carnegie Volunteer Fire and Rescue Bureau is a step closer to being named Carnegie's official fire company.
Council members voted unanimously Monday to approve advertising an ordinance that would give the bureau that designation, thus ending speculation that the borough may seek an outside service.
However, when it came to paying the department's bills, council deadlocked 3-3, with Carol Covi, Susan Demko and Rick D'Loss in favor and Bob Veres, Pat Catena and Mike Sarsfield opposed.
Mayor Jack Kobistek broke the tie with an affirmative vote.
"I'm not going to close the door on the fire department without them being here," he said, adding, "When you make a decision like this, it has to be communicated and not a blindside vote."
Some in the audience applauded his action. The mayor said the fire company, which was on a call, should have been told in advance.
The council members who opposed paying the bureau's bills said their votes weren't political but arose from concerns about the EMS service that shares the fire department's building and may also be on the building's lease.
"Paying for the fire department mortgage is a problem because the EMS is there for free," Mr. Catena said.
Mr. Sarsfield agreed, saying he finds it difficult to support the EMS until it contributes to the mortgage payment.
Ms. Covi took a different view. "I pray every night that we don't lose our fire department or EMS," she said, adding that she almost died when an outside EMS service was called to help her because the Carnegie EMS was on another emergency.
In addition to recognizing the bureau as the official fire company, the 15-page proposed ordinance would create a fire services coordinator. The fire chief would be subordinate except during the handling of emergency situations. Mt. Lebanon Fire Chief Nick Sohyda was hired as a consultant to help write the document.
In a related matter, council unanimously approved an agreement between the borough and Bill Gamble, a municipal police testing and personnel management consultant, to provide technical help for updated Civil Service regulations.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: email@example.com.